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Spitting, Discarded syringes & myths on transmission in the media

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Jim Allen:
Just back from my holidays, catching up on August reading and can see the number 1 very old myth regarding the cinema and HIV transmission is doing a new round on social media.

So just as a reminder:

--- Quote ---Myth 1: Girl goes to cinema and comes out with HIV

Rumour: During the 1990s, a common myth suggested that discarded needles left by strangers anywhere from gas pump handles to inside your cinema chair were infecting unassuming people with HIV. One such story involved a girl getting an unexpected needle stick injury while reaching down beneath her cinema seat to pick up some popcorn.

Reality: Although HIV transmission is a risk between people who share needles for drug use, there has actually never been a recorded case of HIV transmission from a discarded needle. However, if you are concerned that you have received a needle stick injury, you should seek medical advice to get checked up for hepatitis C and B instead.

--- End quote ---

Links & more on top myths:


In addition, read 3 "news" paper reports recently outlining risk "stories" not facts from people who had contact with needles, sharp objects in public or community settings when in there simply is no HIV risk!

This it boils down to fearmongering, lazy journalism and scare tactics to sell papers/get clicks. Its creates undue fear, misunderstand about HIV transmission and stigma. There are multiple reasons why it's not an HIV risk

Totally different conditions & volume is the occupational exposure as in clinic/hospital settings but even then the risk for HIV transmission is extremely rare, involving hollow needles that have been in the vein or artery. More common, high risk is sharing drug rigs/injection equipment under drug users although the factors there are totally different again as it's injection quantity stored in near-vacuum between users and does not apply to exposed or discarded objects, needles that people may come into contact with on a day to day basis.

Thought this reply regarding the topic on twitter was pretty good


Jim Allen:
Spitting is disgusting but not an HIV concern.

The Good AIDS claims I understand from people recently diagnosed as it's difficult for people, totally different level is the rubbish Police, Newspapers, Health departments with CYA (Cover your ass) & Media publish though, as I truly think it continues to feed public fear and in turn stigma.

Might rename this thread "Media myths"

An Australian police association head is under fire after incorrectly suggesting that HIV can be transmitted by spitting.

Jim Allen:
More out of date scaremongering bullshit media stories. Terrible that the little girl got stuck but not an HIV concern

--- Quote ---Girl, 5, undergoes HIV prevention after being pricked by discarded needle near schoolyard
--- End quote ---

Jim Allen:
I renamed the thread and moved it here. I'll keep posting bad media stories or headlines as the media often gets it wrong

Jim Allen:
The media running these stories should be including facts to avoid the continued spread of misinformation about HIV. Although I find spitting disgusting, it's not an HIV risk and as scared or fearful of the person who was spat on might be and entitled to feel, these feeling don't make it fact.">

--- Quote ---He was jailed for 15 months by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court, who told him that his spitting had been aggravated by the fear he cause when he told police he was HIV positive.

The officer who received the spit directly onto his face made a victim impact statement saying:"I am disgusted. I do the job to help other people and don't expect to be spat at.

"It was degrading and embarrassing and I had to have an injection, a course of anti-HIV drugs, and blood tests."
--- End quote ---


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